After the peak, it started to feel like I ended in that most familiar black hole. After working early mornings and late nights for multiple days in a row, I suddenly did not know what to do with my time. Instead of running, folding laundry and cleaning up, I started to revise my material.
In the last two weeks, it became clear I had to work on my content knowledge. Over these weeks, I was taught a lot of new things and had to apply it in a very short time. Now, that I have more spare time, I decided to go over my material and revise, improve and rewrite my material.
I think that becoming more confident and familiar with the content knowledge is one of the things I need to work on the most. I can imagine that you might think, how do you end up in teaching English if you do not know the material. One of the reasons why a lot of things are new to me is that I am not from an English-speaking country. Most of my English literature studies were done in university. I studied books such as Couples by John Updike, Cal by Bernard MacLaverty and a lot of Shakespeare, not really material you want to use in the junior years.
Besides by the time you are in university, they do not teach you the narrative conventions, paragraph structures and question analysis. It is sort of assumed you know how to do those things. This brings me to my second point. I have realised I was never taught to write paragraphs in a structured manner. The only thing my teachers taught me was that each paragraph contained one argument and that you had to write this in either your first or last paragraph. If I had heard of T.E.E.L., P.E.E.L. or S.E.E.E before university, my essay grades were probably a lot better than I’d achieved now.
This did result in me trying to teach paragraphs and essay writing the way I was taught. Frankly, that did not go so well. Now that I know better, I started to rewrite my material and I see a lot of improvement in my work. Also, I have a better insight in the students’ Zone of Proximal Development than before and I scaffold more to achieve better results.
In a way, I feel like I have learned more about English during my practicum than I did during secondary school and university combined. Well, I know that is not true because when I started to talk about main and sub-clauses my students had no clue what I was talking about. The same happened when I talked about conjunctions and I am sure that with the presentation I prepared for my last lesson, I will teach them and the teacher some about the history of English.
During that presentation, I will throw in some metalanguage as that is another learning point. I guess not many will know linguistic terms such as koneisation, vowel shifts and phonemes. It is going to be fun!